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New Dogs, New Cats: Same Home

A dog and cat sitting next to each other on the grass

Bringing a new dog home for the first time takes patience and understanding. Introducing a new dog and hoping he gets along with the resident pet requires preparation. Below, we’ve collected our most popular tips for integrating pets into new families. Understanding the ground rules of how your pets’ minds work makes a big difference in whether your new furry friends become BFFs or frenemies.

Socialize Your Puppy

The main objective of socialization is to teach your puppy how to behave well around humans, animals, and distractions. Socialization begins as early as seven weeks of age and lasts for about 18 months. You want to gradually introduce your puppy to as many sounds, sights, and smells as possible.

Select a Location

When introducing your new dog to your other dog, it’s best you choose a new location. A familiar setting can cause territorial problems. Certified dog trainers recommend having both dogs well exercised prior to meeting each other. Unlike the meeting between two dogs, a room in your home will do just fine for introducing a new dog to your resident cat. Just remember to put a leash on your dog and a harness on your cat to avoid movement.

Keep Your Composure

Whether you’re introducing a new dog to another dog or resident cat, it’s important you maintain a sense of calmness throughout the meeting. If your dog senses your discomfort, he may begin to feel uncomfortable as well. During the encounter between your two dogs, keep a mental note on which dog is the dominant one by observing their interaction. Knowing which one is the alpha dog can help reduce tension between your pets later on. Also, establish yourself as alpha leader.

For the dog and cat affair, move your dog close enough to your cat, but far enough to control your dog’s excitement. From there, offer your dog a treat away from the cat. He will have to make the choice between looking at the cat or eating a treat. Move them closer to each other so they become acquainted with each other.

The process of integration may take a few weeks, but the outcome is well worth it. Just be patient and consistent, and you’ll soon have yourself one happy family. Are your pets best buds or mortal enemies? Post your story below!

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